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Essential Tremor and Alcohol

June 29, 2018

Alcohol acts as a depressant on the brain and other nerve tissues. This means that all the cells and the nerves slow down function when alcohol is induced to the body. Basically, even though some people think that alcohol makes them less controlled and excites them, it is suppressing certain areas of the brain that would be used to control your judgement, reasoning and all the other instincts someone would normally experience. Because it has been determined that essential tremor is usually caused by spontaneous activity in nerve cells in the areas of the brain that control movement, alcohol would be able to suppress these and calm the nerves. As you continue to drink, it impairs your vision, your thinking abilities, and will over time decrease your coordination. 

The effects of alcohol and essential tremor are being closely monitored. In a study, it was found that patients with essential tremor who ingested alcohol found diminishing tremor altitude within 15 minutes of ingesting small doses of the ethyl alcohol. It was concluded in this study that ethanol acts in a way on sensitive structures within the central nervous system and has no effect on peripheral tremorgenic mechanisms. So, most people who ingest a small amount of alcohol do experience a small transient improvement. 

There are other studies being conducted using octanol, a form of alcohol typically used in perfumes and colognes. It is currently being studied, but so far has been found to treat symptoms with a much lower dose than ethanol, the alcohol usually found in most drinks. There is a potential emergence of a safe and non toxic alternative, so that the dangerous effects of alcohol can be mitigated, and the advantages can be given to those who suffer from the disease. 

But, in a different study, it was found that individuals with Essential tremor have an increased risk of developing alcoholism. So, as long as alcohol consumption is controlled, it can be used as a tool for temporary relief of symptoms. Make sure that if you do decide to drink alcohol to help relieve symptoms of essential tremor that you are only drinking the recommended amounts. It is advised that men and women should drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread over several days with breaks in between. A unit of alcohol is about half a pint of beer, or a small glass of wine. 

Another thing to remember is that alcohol does and will interfere with other medications that you are currently taking. Make sure that you check with your doctor before using alcohol to self-medicate, so that other essential tremor medications are not being diminished by alcohol consumption. With all the research that is ongoing, hopefully doctors and researchers will be able to come together and find a solution that helps diminish symptoms but is less addictive and habit forming than alcohol tends to be. Since it has been found that alcohol other than drinking alcohol is more effective, this may lead to more discoveries in treatment techniques for patients with essential tremor.